Yamas – Brahmacharya – Boundaries

Brahmacharya literally means ‘walking’ or having ethical conduct like God. Brahma means one’s own Self, ultimate unchanging reality, absolute consciousness, Divinity. Whatever is the God of your understanding. Charya – means walking, engaging, proceeding, behaving, conducting, moving or going after. So it roughly means “to stay true to one’s Self or ones own Atman” or True Self/Soul. That you are walking the path of Brahma – God. 

However, it is mostly referred to as sexual chastity, abstinence, pure sexual conduct. Brahmacharya essentially was meant to suppress any sexual urge and of all activities leading to it. All the information I have read up upon this is directly talking to men, as Yoga was mainly practiced by men. Creating very clear boundaries of being a renunciant of sex was one of the vows which was taken to practice. 

It’s not just abstaining from sexual acting but according to some Sages that a Yogi must refrain from the 8 forms of sexual indulgences:

  1. Thinking of sex 
  2. talking about sex
  3. playing or joking about sex
  4. looking intensely at someone stimulating sexual urges
  5. secret talking about sex 
  6. touching with sexual intent 
  7. determination or attempts of sexual acts
  8. execution of having sex

The idea is for the Yogi to dissolve the Kleshas, cultivate Sattva Guna and reduce the Karma in this lifetime so to live a moral life as a way to end the cycle of human suffering and to reach enlightenment.

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Published on April 8, 2024